6 Top Software Localization Mistakes That You Shouldn’t Be Close to!

When technology talks, we should listen!
Today we have over 2.7 billion smartphone users and 1.35 billion tablet users across the world. As you can see, everyone is staring at their phones more than anything, with 90% of mobile time spent on checking apps. Let’s, however, look at some key facts about the mobile app industry:

  • According to Statista, Google Store has over 2.8 million apps
  • There are 2.2 million apps in the IOS app store.
  • Mobile app industry is expected to generate $189 billion in revenue by 2020.
  • Smartphone owners use at least 30 apps per month.
  • Around 50% of smartphone owners open an app 11+ times each day.

To be able to reach more customers and get access to millions or billions of users, software companies have started to think about Software localization services

Software localization is not a translation of your software from English. It’s a very long process that includes localizing the user interface, content, formarts, dates, currency and images of the application. 

And take care that every country you are trying to market your application in, needs a different version of your application. So,one of the most important things is to partner with a localization company that has an experience in software localization process. Why experienced? So that you don’t spend your time fixing what your partner has done with your software. 

Throughout our long and extensive experience with hundreds of clients, we managed to collect the most common mistakes that might happen during the software localization process . These mistakes might be made by linguists, marketers, and developers, so make sure to read them well and work on avoiding them.

1. Choose a language not a country

Localization is not about just translation, as it goes far beyond that. So in order to localize your software or your application, you have to study the people (customers) that you are targeting. You should understand their cultural background, legal requirements, and their preferences for colors pictures, etc

We all know that English is spoken in 195 countries as a first language, so definitely every country will be using English in a different way. For example, in the UK they use the word “auto” for cars, while in the USA they used the word car itself. So if you are running a business for renting cars, for example, you can’t use one version for the 2 countries.

So you just need to start your plan with targeting a country, as this will help you design, localize and amend your software according to the preferences of this country and its people.

 2. Decentralized Resources And Lack Of Integration

The process of localizing your software shouldn’t be scattered between many vendors of software localization services providers, as you will end up with poor quality, which is certainly not what you are looking for. 

Before starting your software localization process, you should decide to partner with a language service provider that will be reasonable for the process from A to Z. Centralizing your project in one place will help you avoid the below issues:

    • High costs: As you might have a large volume of words that needed to be translated, you can get better deals from software localization companies.
    • Meeting deadlines: If you will work with different vendors, you may find that some will miss the deadline
    • Poor translation quality: as every company has a different style of work and localization, you might end up with a poor quality of work and lots of bugs.
    • Communication hassle: Working with different vendors with a separate contact person will cause a lot of hassle and headache in reaching, communicating, and follow-uping with a lot of people.

    As a result, it’s better for you to integrate and centralize your project in one place, as this will guarantee a streamlined process and, consequently, consistent localization of your software.

2. Embedding

ُEmbedding your software text to the code, this will affect how linguists are working on your localization process, as they will be confused about which content to translate and which part is the code. As a result, this will cost you more time and money to complete your software localization.

To avoid this, you will need to create separate resource files, which will include all the text available in your software that the users might see. Each file will have a unique name as an identifier. Then you will send these files to your software localization company to start localizing the content according to each target market.

4. Hard-coding text, date and time, and Images

The software is not only text that needs to be translated, but there are also images, units, currencies, and other things that need to be localized according to the target market. All of these things reduce the word count, which will decrease your cost, but this is not the case all the time. Let’s see how.

  • Images

Images are a really important unit for end-users and during the localization process, if the images are separated from the code and the text, the localization will be done easily. But don’t forget to ask for the assistance of a localization company to help you choose the best image according to the target market as people interpret images differently.

But what if you have images with text on them?! In this case, you will need to  use other tools to separate the text from the images and create the text as a separate component, which will definitely affect the cost of the localization process.

  • Dates

Not all countries write the dates in the same format. Countries like Australia, Austria, and Cuba write the date as (DD.MM.YYYY) while countries like Canada, the US, and the Philippines write it (MM.DD.YYYY). So it’s an important point to check that your software localization service provider has good experience in your target market.

There are other units like using the pounds not the kilograms as weight metric. Also there are the issue currencies and how they are written and used. The currency exchange rates are also very important when, for example, you are running an ecommerce website that is targeting different countries.

So if you are willing to save cost and time, never ever hard-code this data. You can use a library that contains these resource files and localize them for any new target markets.

5. Post Translation Phase

Every language is unique and has its own style. So if you are going to localize your software, you have to consider the length and density of the target language. You have to make sure that you have enough strings to grow or shrink. Sometimes after localizing the content, you will find that you don’t have enough space – which will affect your interface and you will need editing for the text.

You can fix this while designing your software by creating extra space for strings to grow in case you decide to localize your software into a language that requires more space like Russian or Japanese.

6. Lack of Unicode support

It’s very important when you are creating software that will target global markets to take care of Unicode, as it supports worldwide languages. While translating you will deal with special characters, so it’s imperative to get the proper support of Unicode, as it will avoid getting corrupted characters during translation.

Software developers recommend using UTF-8 (Unicode Transformation Format 8-bit) for special character translation and if you are translating Asian languages, then you can use  UTF-16.


 So we can conclude that these mistakes are fatal and you should work very hard to avoid them in any case, but how? Choosing the right software localization service provider.

Contentech has been part of the success of hundreds of software companies in the MENA region and in different parts of the world. Our main approach is to localize the software to look like as if it was originally designed for the new target audience and not translated for them. This means that we don’t translate text by text, but we consider everything from the user interface, to buttons, menus, error messages, and installation files.

But how can we do this? Because we believe that localization is an art and only humans can be artists. Contentech has equipped itself with an army of subject matter experts – linguists, engineers, software developers, and testers – who will be responsible for your localization project during the pre and post-translation. Our team has great technical knowledge and experience in a lot of programming languages such as JavaScript, Python, Java, TypeScript and many more.

What can you expect from us?

  • High quality with subject matter experts.
  • Competitive rates.
  • Fast turnaround.
  • User-friendly content

So if you are still studying your market and looking for a reliable software localization company, Contentech is up for the challenge!

Contact us today and one of our sales team will help you to get the right decision!

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